Energy / Climate Change

April 21, 2005


Successful 500-Hour Test Moves Biomass Generation Closer to Practical Use

Keywords: Ecosystems / Biodiversity Environmental Technology Non-manufacturing industry Renewable Energy 

Chugai Ro Co., a Japanese thermal engineering company, announced on February 7, 2005, that it had succeeded in 500 hours of continuous power generation, ranking it among the longest in the world to date, at its forest biomass gasification pilot plant in Yamaguchi Prefecture, western Japan. The test run started in mid-January and achieved three weeks of continuous operation on February 4, 2005.

Using a total of 100 tons of wood chips during the test, the pilot plant generated 180 kilowatts of electricity during the day to meet daytime power demand, and output was reduced to 48 kilowatts by controlling the fuel supply. The system also reuses combustion residue and waste heat from the gasification process, which makes it possible to get three times more energy from biomass than existing methods.

With conventional biomass gasification technology, power plant has to be halted periodically for maintenance because tar in flammable gas adheres to the gas turbine engine and other parts. Chugai Ro's system can, however, completely decompose tar into fuel gas, eliminating the adverse effects of tar deposits. This has been realized by raising the temperature of the gas generated from 700 to over 1,000 degrees Celsius with the injection of a small amount of pure oxygen.

The successful test run indicates that the maintenance cycle of the new system can be at least 2.5 times longer than that of existing ones. This leads to a significant reduction in maintenance expenses and is expected to provide further impetus for commercialization of biomass gasification.

Posted: 2005/04/21 11:03:09 PM
Japanese version